Using Task Features for Zero-Shot Knowledge Transfer in Lifelong Learning / 1620
David Isele, Mohammad Rostami, Eric Eaton
Knowledge transfer between tasks can improve the performance of learned models, but requires an accurate estimate of the inter-task relationships to identify the relevant knowledge to transfer. These inter-task relationships are typically estimated based on training data for each task, which is inefficient in lifelong learning settings where the goal is to learn each consecutive task rapidly from as little data as possible. To reduce this burden, we develop a lifelong reinforcement learning method based on coupled dictionary learning that incorporates high-level task descriptors to model the inter-task relationships. We show that using task descriptors improves the performance of the learned task policies, providing both theoretical justification for the benefit and empirical demonstration of the improvement across a variety of dynamical control problems. Given only the descriptor for a new task, the lifelong learner is also able to accurately predict the task policy through zero-shot learning using the coupled dictionary, eliminating the need to pause to gather training data before addressing the task.